Within the new musical comedy/self-importance venture A Turtle on a Fence Post by Prisoner #11RO731 (aka political marketing consultant and dealer Hank Morris), the author continues his public feud with New York’s embattled ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo in a fictionalized rehashing of the narrative of his imprisonment, after pleading responsible to felony costs introduced by then NY State Lawyer Basic Cuomo for monetary fraud in 2010, in a pension fund pay-to-play kickback scheme that steered investments to buddies and political associates (for which Morris obtained some $19 million in charges). This private theatricalized model of the occasions portrays Cuomo as having launched that authorized vendetta in opposition to Morris for refusing to work with him or to take his repeated cellphone calls; so now Morris is retaliating with a “pity get together” of a present that makes it arduous (and by “arduous” I imply not possible) to sympathize with both of them.
Framed within the system of a comedy-club look by Morris (whose one-liner puns are extra groan-inducing than humorous), the prolonged go-back payback story traces his profession, household life, fraud case, jail time, and launch with direct-address segments explaining his monetary wheeling-and-dealing and questioning of the NY State authorized and judicial programs (each illustrated with projections designed by Stefania Bulbarella); his workaholic persona, responsible plea, repeated parole denials, and incapacity to vary that in the end introduced an finish to his marriage; and his jailhouse interactions with fellow prisoners. It’s all advised with a sardonic tone and a stylistic array of 22 authentic songs, with interesting music by Austin Nuckols (music course by Aaron Gandy and orchestrations and preparations by Steve Orich) and redundant lyrics by Lily Dwoskin.
The present’s self-acquitting title references a favourite platitude from Invoice Clinton (who confronted impeachment costs and accusations of sexual harassment just like these of Cuomo): “If you see a turtle on a fence publish, you already know it didn’t get there by itself. It doesn’t belong there. You marvel who put it there.” These males are not any turtles.
Underneath the course of Gabriel Barre, Garth Kravits stars as Morris, eliciting little appreciation for his self-indulgent character or his uneven vocals. He’s supported by an organization of six (Kate Loprest, Joanna Glushak, Josh Marin, Richard E. Waits, Erik Gratton, and David Aron Damane) enjoying a number of featured and subsidiary roles. Among the many standouts are Glushak’s skillfully managed comedic characterization of his mom Rita; the entertaining Marin and Waits as his typically pleasant, typically threatening jail mates; Marin’s hilarious anthropomorphized ATM, phone, and basketball hoop that ingest an inserted card, beep, and throw the ball again; Damane’s show-stopping efficiency of “There’s a Gentle” in his well-rounded portrayal of Z (who calls out the clueless Morris for his complete lack of social consciousness); and the solid’s energetic however anachronistic song-and-dance quantity “There’s All the time a Second Act” (with choreography by Kenny Ingram).
Walt Spangler’s expansive bi-level set simply shifts from comedy membership to jail to houses, eating places, and different locales, supported by skilled lighting by Yael Lubetzky and sound by Twi McCallum (the transient flash of a thunderstorm is particularly spectacular), whereas costumes and make-up by Vanessa Leuck and hair and wig design by Bobbie Zlotnik outline the actors’ altering characters.
Regardless of one of the best efforts of the solid and staff, the one take-aways from this self-serving blame recreation are that political divisiveness is caught in a endless cycle of revenge that stymies any progress we could possibly be making and that cash, energy, and privilege are not any excuse for unethical conduct on both facet. It’s a lesson that Prisoner #11RO731 nonetheless hasn’t discovered.
Operating Time: Roughly two hours and 30 minutes, together with an intermission.
A Turtle on a Fence Post performs by means of Sunday, January 2, 2022, at Theater 555, 555 West 42nd Avenue, NYC. For tickets (with costs beginning at $69), go online. All people should present a photograph ID and proof of vaccination on the theater and might be required to put on a masks always until actively consuming or consuming.